Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

I’m telling you why we broke up, Ed. I’m writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.

Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Meaghan here again! Let me preface this by saying that this book absolutely destroyed me, and am I so glad I read it. My reasons why are below!

“A girl meets a boy, Ed, and everything changes, or so she says.”

Stars (Out of 10): 9

Overall Thoughts: This was an emotional rollercoaster, and I am so glad I stuck around for the ride. I feel like I went through this break up right along with Min. Originally I started this book and got about 30 pages in before putting it away again, as the writing style really threw me off, but as I continued it again, it clicked perfectly with the idea of the story. This girl has just broken up with her ex-love, and now she’s returning his stuff. What we’re reading is her letter to him of her thoughts, and “why they broke up”, so of course it’s going to run on and be messy, because that’s Min’s emotional state at that time. It takes some getting used to, but it’s perfect.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

The Good: The writing style clicked perfectly with the story idea, and I loved the underlying sense of “doom”, knowing everything was going to go all wrong, just unsure of when. The mixture of story telling and “philosophical and romantic anecdotes” was also perfect as Min listed her reasons why, and made me look for my own meanings in her stories. I also loved the final two or three pages (before the note about the book and walnuts) where Min talks about how she isn’t different. The emotion captured in those pages was just so much, almost as if Min is battling herself and people’s perception of her, trying to say “I’m not different, that’s no excuse for leaving me and you’re wrong for doing so.” It just left a huge impact on me.

The Bad: Min loved her obscure movies, but I don’t know all these movies and their references. Sure, they’re not too important, but it makes those run-on sentences with the references in them harder to read and put together, because they make absolutely no sense to me. There were also moments when those run-on sentences became a bit too run-on, even for the style, but this didn’t happen all too often.

The Characters: I liked how the characters were created. No one was perfect, everyone had flaws, and the author also managed to trick us into thinking Ed was different than other jocks, and made us see him how Min saw him, so we felt all that being ripped away from us like she did too, and made the emotions I felt from this book that much stronger.

The Plot: While this book wasn’t set up like books normally are, I loved the events and how it seemed like a tome of separate stories almost, and made it much more enjoyable to read! I was hanging on to every word mentioned about the break up, trying to piece together what happened, until I was hit with it all at the end. Damn you Annette!!

The Stereotypical Tropes: Jock is bad cheating boyfriend, the “different” girl

The Favorite Character: Min(erva)

Buy it, Borrow it, or Bin it: If you’re in for a sad journey and a good cry, buy it!

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